US investment in UK Film Declines

US investment in British films in the last year is down. Both lower-budget and big-budget pictures have been affected.

New figures published in the Times today show US investment in British films in the last year is down by £333m to £171m. Total Film confirms total investment also fell, from £960m in 2004 to £699 million in 2005. Both lower-budget and big-budget pictures have been affected  

Screen Finance magazine, which compiled the figures, says the sharp downturn is due mainly to American studio concerns over changes to British film tax breaks.

Some blockbusters, meant to be filmed in the UK, had their shoots cancelled after the UK Treasury closed tax loopholes and announced that investment schemes were being scrapped - without immediately explaining what was going to replace them.

Casino Royale, the latest in the James Bond series, is now being mainly filmed abroad - despite the tradition of Bond films being shot at British studio Pinewood.

 

Watchmen, a £67m film directed by Paul Greengrass, was also lost from Pinewood last April.

 Tim Adler of Screen Finance said in today's Times, "For the Government to allow its most high-profile civil servant, Bond, to go abroad is extraordinary. The reason governments offer Hollywood these tax breaks is because it brings in so much money. Roughly twice the amount of a film's budget is spent locally, so if £100m was spent on Batman Begins, then £200 million would have been spent on accommodation and other expenses."

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